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My 25 & 26 year old sons and I (who was 2 weeks shy of turning 59) climbed to the top of Kili via the Machame Route in December 2008 on a private climb with Eliakim Mshanga as our head guide.

Tusker Kilimanjaro guide

The night we summited (Christmas Eve 2008- I think we actually saw Santa go across the sky on his sleigh with his reindeer!), Eliakim, our other guide and 3 porters accompanied us to the top.

After hiking a couple of hours, we encountered a woman sitting and resting on a rock with her guide. She was disoriented, had vomited 11 times, was exhausted and clearly had altitude sickness. She had turned around from her ascent and was trying to descend to a lower altitude. Eliakim stopped, gave her what he liked to call “sugar shots,” medicine and oxygen, and motioned for us to continue our climb while he stayed with her until she stabilized (and then caught up with us).

Well, stabilize she did… we ran into her at the base the next day where she thanked us profusely. You see, Eliakim’s “mitzvah” enabled her to continue her ascent and reach the summit!

I think back on our accomplishment and am in awe of myself. It was an amazing experience, that’s locked forever in my brain. And to have the privilege of doing it with my sons was an incredible treat. Thank you, Tusker, for the opportunity.

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